| Russia 2005 , Climbing to Caucasus Mountain, Peaks Kurmychi 4045m, Elbrus 5642m and Ushba plateau
Wednesday 27-7-2005: From camping to Terskol and trekking to refuge on Elbrus
By minibus we left at 9:00 to Elbrus. We stopped for about an hour to Terskol to buy foods for the next days. Using the two cable cars from where we had very nice view we reached the altitude of about 3623m. Moreover, using a lift we arrived to the refuge barrels at 3750 m. From barrels refuge we began trekking on the snow-capped slopes of Elbrus until the wood-made refuge, which we reached it after an hour trekking. This refuge was closed to the ruins of Priut refuge, which was burned a year ago. The altitude of the refuge is 4065m, there are 3 rooms, with capacity 8 persons per room and was very comfortable. In the afternoon we trekked higher until the first rocks of Pastukhov in order to have good acclimatization and we turned back to refuge. Our schedule was to do acclimatization and the next day, and after 2 days to try to summit, but our guide Victor told us to try tomorrow and if the summit was not possible, we would have a second opportunity the next day.
Thursday 28-7-2005: Climbing to Elbrus West and East
Our target of this day was the summit but if we were not able to do it, we would have a second opportunity the day after. At 6:20 we started trekking from the refuge with his tempo each of us and Victor was guiding us. Loukas had rent mountaineering ski and he was coming by ski. At the time that we started the trek the most of the climbers were already over Pastukhov rocks. Going with very fast tempo we climbed the snowcapped slopes, Victor was the first following him Vangelis, me and Dimitris. In two hours we reached Pastukhov rocks and we started the endless traverse of East peak. Before 11 o’clock we were on the col 5350m were we stopped to rest. Here were a lot of climbers but we had already overpassed a lot on the path. Victor returned in order to see how was the rest of our team, and we continued climbing the steep slope of the peak. Many breaks were done because of the luck of oxygen, but walking basically fast we reached the summit of Elbrus West 5642m the highest peak of Europe. At 12:00 I reached the summit while Vangelis was already there, and Dimitris came after 10 minutes. We stayed on summit for about half an hour to take photos and to enjoy the view of Caucasus mountain range and we start the trek back. On the way to col we met 3 member of our team. An idea of Vangelis was to climb and the East summit, without to think it a lot, we agreed. Thus, after col we went north and we turned east to East peak. We were very tired and I had headache but we continued with slower tempo and a lot of breaks. At 13:40 we were on the East summit 5621m. We stayed for a few minutes and we returned fast because we had a long way to go back to the refuge. The returning was very difficult because we went down in the snow and we were very tired. Finally, at 16:30 we were to refuge, but my headache still continued. An hour later Mike and Irene arrived, so everybody had succeeded to reach the summit. Taking an aspirin, tea and rest the headache stopped and everybody slept early to rest.
Friday 29-7-2005: Return from refuge to camping
We woke up late and we started descending into the melting snow. When we arrived to barrels refuge the lift was not operating so we continued trekking until the cable car. By cable cars we went back to Terskol and we did a long stop for lunch here. By minibus we moved to the camping, but the minibus had problems and made hundreds of stops every few meters. Late in the afternoon we arrived at the camping. Everyone had a hot shower; except me and Loukas who went for sauna in Elbrus camping base.
Saturday 30-7-2005: Rest day in camping
This day was a rest day, and we prepared our equipment for the next peak, which was Ushba, a difficult one. Loukas was not feeling well on health such he decided not to come with us the next day.